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Saturday, December 10, 2011
A Rustic Christmas
When Daniel was here on Earth, even though it was a lot of work, I tried hard to decorate as soon as Thanksgiving was over. It honestly took me quite a bit of time. I put wreaths on the farm gates, some years with red bows, and other years with an old fashioned deeper red bow. We have wrought iron plant holders so that hanging plants can grace the walk up to the house itself, and at Christmas, I hang pots overflowing with holly or other decorated Christmas greenery. We place a creche with all the animals, kings, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, which is carved, and a family heirloom on a table. We place wreaths on our front door and some transitional doors. One year we had a big family tree that we all decorated, and a smaller tree just for Daniel to decorate, and to put lights on. Some years I have actually decorated the barns and the outbuildings. Putting all of it up can be exciting, but taking it all down, and putting it away can be downright depressing.
This year, I am just tired going into the holiday season. I was ill last month and recovery has sapped my energy and desire to run around like a nut. I am therefore looking for a calmer holiday season, with a little truer peace and goodwill toward men, women, and particularly toward mothers ! Still, James is not grown and has not known many Christmases with us, and so we must make it memorable for him. This year, I am doing a rustic Christmas. The tree is up and decorated. The gifts are purchased and wrapped and are conservative this year in response to the economy. There is nothing frivolous, and things are geared toward general preparedness and need. There are tools, emergency car kits, clothing, expensive socks, and gift certificates from favorite stores rather than jewelry. It's also an arts and crafts Christmas rather than a bought one in some ways. It's also a Christmas where we give things to others, as we try to make it, each year. This year, rather than lots of ribbon with wrap, I have used yarn. It is a nice touch and makes a homespun Christmas.
Christmas really isn't and was never about the trappings, the food, the gifts and the credit cards used to buy gifts. It is simply the remembrance of the day of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He, incidentally, never asked us to celebrate his birth in such a fashion. It's simply one of the things we try to do here on Earth in acknowledgement of His birth and of the great gift He gave us. It's not even really celebrated on the correct day.
The following is from Christianhistory.net
More specifically from: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2000/dec08.html
"Western Christians first celebrated Christmas on December 25 in 336, after Emperor Constantine had declared Christianity the empire's favored religion. Eastern churches, however, held on to January 6 as the date for Christ's birth and his baptism. Most easterners eventually adopted December 25, celebrating Christ's birth on the earlier date and his baptism on the latter, but the Armenian church celebrates his birth on January 6. Incidentally, the Western church does celebrate Epiphany on January 6, but as the arrival date of the Magi rather than as the date of Christ's baptism.
Another wrinkle was added in the sixteenth century when Pope Gregory devised a new calendar, which was unevenly adopted. The Eastern Orthodox and some Protestants retained the Julian calendar, which meant they celebrated Christmas 13 days later than their Gregorian counterparts. Most—but not all—of the Christian world now agrees on the Gregorian calendar and the December 25 date."
Humans are simple creatures. We tell ourselves that this date is the date of Christ's birth and some of us hold it sacred. In fact, we should "love one another" as he implored, each day, not just on Easter, on Christmas or on Sundays.